Hundreds of thousands are expected in the streets across Brazil Sunday to demand the ouster of President Dilma Rousseff. The protests marked the third major nationwide demonstration this year against Rousseff, who has faced allegations of corruption, staid right-wing opposition and mounting dissatisfaction to her government-instituted financial austerity measures.
Protesters in Brasilia, the capital, as well as Rio de Janeiro -- where an Olympic bicycling test event had to be rerouted -- and in the country's financial capital São Paulo all rallied against the president in a show of opposition. Some 200 towns and cities in Brazil are expected to participate in some form of protest, Agence France-Presse reported.
In April, an estimated 600,000 people came out against Rousseff and more than a million during similar demonstrations in March. Rousseff narrowly won election over conservative Aecio Neves in October. Things have been largely downhill since then. After surging under Rousseff’s Workers Party predecessor President Lula da Silva and in much of her first term, Brazil’s economy has fallen into recession. American credit rating agencies have slashed ratings of the country’s debt and Brazil's currency, the real, has fallen 34 percent against the dollar this year to its lowest point since 2003, CNNMoney reported.
Many of Brazil's problems stem from the widespread bribery case involving state-owned oil company Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras), in which Rousseff and Silva have been implicated but not formally charged. The story has engulfed the country and hurt the company, which is a huge contributor to its economy.
The demonstration in Brasilia got off to a slow start Sunday, AFP reported, with only hundreds of people gathering in the first half hour. Throughout the year protesters and opposition members have embraced the slogan “Fora Dilma” or “Dilma out” in Portuguese, with many wearing the Brazilian national soccer team colors and carrying placards with the slogan and chanting it.
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) August 16, 2015
"I've come onto the street because I'm fed up, I want to show our dissatisfaction with the political scene and the country's economy and government corruption," Luana Alves, 38, a civil servant, told AFP.
In March, Rousseff’s televised call for patience and support of the austerity measures was met with a similar campaign, dubbed “Panelaço Nas Janelas,” or “cooking pots in the windows,” which successfully drew scores to the streets in São Paulo, Brasilia, Goiania and other Brazilian cities to bang their pots and pans in anger at the president’s unpopular measures.